Try-on vis­its, on­line or­ders begin for Ap­ple Watch

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

From Bei­jing to Paris to San Fran­cisco, the Ap­ple Watch made its de­but Fri­day. Cus­tomers were in­vited to try them on in stores and or­der them on­line.

The watch is Ap­ple’s first new prod­uct cat­e­gory since the iPad came out five years ago. An­a­lysts are wait­ing to see how well the watch will sell be­yond de­voted Ap­ple fans. Ap­ple has a bet­ter chance at suc­ceed­ing than any other smart­watch maker so far, yet it will likely take time be­fore sales reach the kind of num­bers that Ap­ple gets for iPhones and iPads.

Watch prices start at US$349, but can go as high as US$17,000 for a luxury edi­tion in gold. Peo­ple can try the watch on in Ap­ple stores, but for now all or­ders are be­ing han­dled on­line. Ship­ments begin April 24.

It’s avail­able in the U.S. and eight other mar­kets around the world. In the U.S., the watch is avail­able only in Ap­ple stores. In some coun­tries, se­lect depart­ment stores and re­sellers also have it.

Here’s a look at de­vel­op­ments sur­round­ing Ap­ple Watch, lat­est up­dates first:

5:30 a.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. in Tokyo):

The cu­ri­ous in Ja­pan formed a long line in Ise­tan depart­ment store, where a spe­cial sec­tion was built just for the Ap­ple watch.

The 70-square-me­ter (750-square-foot) modernist box with black floors and walls was staffed by about a dozen work­ers clad in black.

Only 20 cus­tomers were al­lowed in at a time, and only those with ad­vance reser­va­tions or who showed up early enough to get one of 76 lot­tery tick­ets got to try the watch on.

The rest could only look at a dis­play of 19 watches un­der a glass show­case. They ranged in price from about 43,000 yen (US$360) to 2,800,000 yen (US$23,300) for the luxury edi­tion in gold. — Noriko Ki­tano, AP writer 5 a.m. EDT (5 p.m. in Shang­hai): In cen­tral Shang­hai, po­ten­tial Ap­ple watch buy­ers stood in lines two to five peo­ple long over their lunch hour at an Ap­ple store on Fri­day to try on the watch many said they al­ready planned to buy.

“It was beau­ti­fully made, like an ex­pen­sive watch,” said Li Hao, 27, a Web designer who owns a Mac, an iPad and an Ap­ple TV. He has just traded up from an iPhone 4 to the new iPhone 6 Plus.

China was among coun­tries where the watch had its global de­but Fri­day, re­flect­ing the coun­try’s fast-grow­ing sta­tus as one of Ap­ple’s most im­por­tant mar­kets.

Li said he planned to buy the sport ver­sion of the watch at about 3,000 yuan (US$500).

“I can­not do sports with the mo­bile phone,” he said. “I need a ma­chine to record what I did and a screen to look at.”

Qi Tian, 26, who works in hu­man re­sources for a real es­tate com­pany, said he was “not a big fan” of Ap­ple, though he owns four or five prod­ucts. He said he planned to or­der a watch on­line that day.

“I just came to see if the size fits,” said Qi.

— Fu Ting, AP re­searcher.

3:01 a.m. EDT (12:01 a.m. in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia): Ready, set, go... Ap­ple starts tak­ing or­ders for the watch on its web­site and Ap­ple Store app. Cur­rently, this is the only way Ap­ple is sell­ing the watch. Even those vis­it­ing re­tail stores will have to or­der on­line — ei­ther at home or at a Web termi- nal in­side the store.

The re­tail stores are meant for cus­tomers who aren’t sure which watch case, band or size they want — or aren’t sure they even want one. Staff will be on hand to help cus­tomers try on the watches and an­swer ques­tions be­fore buy­ing. Cus­tomers are en­cour­aged to make an ap­point­ment on­line, though walk-ins will be ac­cepted — just ex­pect a wait.

AP

(Above) Cus­tomers ex­am­ine the new Ap­ple watches pre­sented at the Paris Opera Ap­ple store on Fri­day, April 10. (Left) A cus­tomer picks up an Ap­ple Watch at an Ap­ple Store in Hong Kong on Fri­day.

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